The hepatitis B Virus (HBV) interferes with the functions of the liver and activates the immune system. This triggers a specific reaction. The consequence of pathological damage to the liver results in the liver becoming inflamed. Though most individuals overcome this infection, a small percentage cannot, as a result they remain chronically infected. These patients are high risk as they could potentially develop into cirrhosis of the liver or even liver cancer.
HBV transmits through blood or body fluids from an infected person, just like HIV does, and is 50-100 times more infectious. One could infected HBV by—
- Prenatal transfer that is from mother during pregnancy
- Child-to- child transmission
- Unsafe blood and blood component transfer
- Sexual transfer
- Contaminated healthcare equipment
Of these the prenatal and reuse of unsterilized needles and syringes dominate.
Earlier almost all children of developing countries developed HBV but with the widespread use of hepatitis B vaccine, outstanding record of safety and effectiveness has been achieved.
Over one billion doses have been used worldwide since 1982 and the affectivity has been 95%. Once vaccinated the protection lasts for 20yrs. But as of today there are no boosters recommended by WHO.